Award winner Petersen to appear with CSO Nov. 11


By Zach Dunkin

While scores of young musicians aspire to one day play Carnegie Hall, pianist Drew Petersen did that before entering first grade. Sure, it wasn’t the Big Hall, but Petersen recalls that day in Manhattan when at age 5, he performed at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall.


“I remember feeling really excited to get on stage at a beautiful piano to share my several short pieces with the audience,” Petersen said. “I had even memorized all of them and wasn’t worried at all about forgetting the notes.

“I remember my piano teacher teaching me how to walk on stage, how to bow, and – this seemed to be the most important part for him – to never turn my back to the audience when I moved to sit at the piano.”

Petersen will certainly practice his teacher’s instructions when he makes his central Indiana concerto debut as the winner of the 2017 American Pianists Awards and Christel DeHaan Fellowship of the American Pianists Association as he joins the Carmel Symphony Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 11 at The Palladium.

As the winner of the competition, Petersen will serve as artist-in-residence at the University of Indianapolis for the next two years.

“(UIndy) is a really warm community full of excited and energetic students and faculty,” said Petersen, who resides in Oradell, N.J., a suburb of NYC. “I am really impressed by the variety of repertoire I had heard over the course of the week … not just Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, though I heard plenty of beautiful performances of their works as well.”

Speaking of Chopin, that’s what Petersen will play with the CSO. Chopin’s “Piano Concerto No. 1” will be the finale of the four-piece program.

“It’s such an elegant concerto that embodies the purity and vigor of youth, and yet because it’s Chopin, you can feel his depth of feeling and special sense of drama that pierces the heart,” he said.

Tickets can be purchased by visiting or by calling the Center’s box office at 317.843.3800.

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